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6 Myths About Expat Life in Boquete Busted

There has been a lot written recently, in both print and electronic media, about the great possibilities that life in Boquete can hold for retirees and investors. With all this attention, it’s no wonder that a number of myths and misconceptions about life in Panama have appeared, making it more challenging to decide if moving there is the right choice.

Boquete’s attractiveness as an expat and investment destination is justified; the mountain climate, use of the U.S. dollar as the local currency, and Panama’s aggressive efforts to attract retirees and foreign investors all contribute to the town’s growing reputation as a premier place to retire.

life in boquete

Jason Cserny

Busting 6 Myths About What Life in Boquete Is Like

Regardless of the location, there seem to be any number of myths about what expats can expect when they move abroad. Boquete is certainly no exception to having several of these misconceptions distort what life in Boquete is truly like. Below are some of the most common myths and the truths that debunk them.

Myth #1: No One Speaks My Language

While it is true that knowing at least some Spanish can make life less complicated (and can help new arrivals immerse themselves in the local community), being fluent in the language is not essential. With a recent estimate of over 3,000 expats living in Boquete, use of English is more prevalent than in many other parts of the country. So making yourself understood is much easier than one might first imagine-even if you don’t habla español.

Myth #2: It’s In the Tropics – It’s Going to Be Too Hot

Boquete’s mountain location is a far cry from the tropical rainforest climate that one can encounter in the Panamanian lowlands. Being almost 4,000 feet about sea level makes for warm and comfortable daytime temperatures and cool, comfortable evenings.

An additional benefit of the moderate climate is that air conditioning use can be reduced dramatically without sacrificing comfort. This translates into lower electrical bills and a great savings that can be particularly important to budget-conscious retirees.

life in boquete

Viva Tropical

Myth #3: There Aren’t Any Modern Residences in Boquete

While it is true that Boquete is off the beaten path, the availability of modern homes and potential investment sites make the 45 minute ride from the city of David (with its new international airport) worthwhile. Here are some prime examples of the types of properties that can be found in and around Boquete:

Live Life at The Top 

Located just a short distance (15 minute drive) from Boquete, is the picturesque community of Lucero. There you can find modern luxury living at the Jazmin Condominiums. There are three different floor plans to choose from to configure these 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath living spaces to your specifications.

Each unit has an open concept design, modern appliances, 24-hour security, and elevators to each floor. Additionally, residents have access to Lucero Golf & Country Club, clay tennis courts, and open space throughout the community to keep you connected to the natural beauty of the area. All this can be yours for only $238,650.

Roomy 4-Bedroom, 3-Bath in Boquete 

This roomy 4-bedroom, 3-bath house in the Las Brias neighborhood of Boquete is ideally suited for family life. The fully fenced-in 630 square meter lot (the home sits on 310 square meters) is close to a school and a supermarket.

For those who don’t want to go to the effort of bringing their own furniture down, the property is fully furnished and currently listed at $225,000;  it also can be sold at a lower price in an unfurnished condition.

This is the best deal in Boquete 

Sitting on a .4 acre lot, this 3-bedroom 2.5-bath fully furnished, turnkey property is ideal for the investor looking for a quality rental home or a retiree seeking to find a piece of Panamanian paradise. Some of the features include a honeymoon Jacuzzi tub and open concept kitchen with upgraded Whirlpool appliances.

Exceptional green space around the property as well as an attractive terrace that wraps from the rear of the home to the left side of the structure are two more reasons why this may well be the best residential deal in Boquete. The offering price is eye-catching as well at $295,000.

With these properties and others to choose from, taking a closer look at what is available makes it clear that there certainly are modern homes in Boquete. Another myth gets busted!!

Myth #4: It’s Safer to Live in a Gated Community with Other Expats and Lots of Security

This may be one of the biggest myths throughout Latin America! Gated communities are often a magnet for criminal activity; the very elements that are supposed to provide security become an advertisement that there are possessions behind those gates worth stealing, theft being perhaps the most common type of crime.

Surrounding yourself with only expats is going to detract from truly immersing oneself in life in the community. Taking normal precautions (not going into questionable areas, never leaving your home open, etc.) is often a far better deterrent than hiding behind gated walls. Important, Boquete has practically no violent crime, making it a far safer location than most U.S. cities today.

life in boquete

Steve McCallum

Myth #5: You Will Always Have to Make Do or Go Without

This is more about setting expectations than anything else. Expecting things to be identical to life in the U.S. is, frankly, not realistic.

Boquete is a growing community that is still Panamanian (in spite of the increasing number of expats). The local food market is going to have a far different selection of items than one might find in the average U.S. grocery store. Some items, such as electronics or computers, might require a trip into David or Panama City in order to be purchased.

Above all, the pace of life in general is going to be less hectic. Making an appointment does not necessarily mean that it will begin at the time requested; similarly, having work done may take longer that might have been estimated.

The important thing to remember is that one of the main reasons for becoming an expat was to experience a different way of life. By embracing the differences between life in Boquete and back in home in the States, daily life becomes less about “making do” and more about becoming part of your new tropical highland community.

life in boquete

Think Panama

Myth #6: The Medical Care Is Primitive

Medical services in Panama are one of the major attractions for expats and investors alike. The country has several state-of-the-art facilities including Punta Pacifica, located in Panama City. This hospital, in addition to being affiliated with the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, is considered one of the most technologically advanced health care providers in Latin America.

For those living in Boquete, quality medical care is provided by Hospital Chiriqui as well as two other modern facilities in nearby David. There are also a number of public hospitals run by the Ministry of Health. Regardless of whether you choose public or private, the quality of care is equal to, and in many cases, superior to that in the U.S. Even more importantly, the cost is far less than the U.S. average for the same services.

Become Your Own Boquete “Mythbuster”

Experiencing Boquete firsthand is the best way to debunk the myths about living the expat life. Visit this mountain community and see that the potential for growth, investment, and quality of life are certainly not mythical at all.

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2 thoughts on “6 Myths About Expat Life in Boquete Busted

  1. 1

    How about some truths you might choose to cover, in the interest of impartial and charitable objectivity: it rains a lot; humidity is a problem; bugs can be a problem; yes, there is crime–house breakins are a potential problem. Be very careful where you build–landslides are a problem in rainy, mountainous terrain. How’s that for starters? The problem with writings by realtors is the excessive underlying self-interest. They are selling, always selling.

  2. Kevin Goetz

    If you like frequent daily rain, drizzle, cloudy skies, it’s nice. Mentioning that cuts back on the commission checks? Sorry

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